I was in the Debating Society in first year at Lancaster University. Now, I certainly wouldn't be in favour of banning phones, but could someone come up with a set of convincing arguments for banning them? Here are some obvious arguments that I think could be used:
Telephones are abused by people who send prank calls, harrass and stalk others. We need to do something about these prank calls; thus, in order to put a stop to the problem, we should ban phones; then nobody would be able to send prank calls and abuse them to harrass others.
“But surely such a law would punish a lot of the wrong people, criminalising the general public?”
The law is the law. Everyone would know what the law said; if everyone obeyed it there wouldn't be a problem.
“But there would be a problem with the law; the punishment of the many because of the few!”
The minority spoil it, that’s life, it can’t be helped because that’s just the way it is.
“But it can be helped; you can try to differentiate the idiots from the responsible majority!”
HOW???????? You can’t always tell if someone has made a prank call, therefore other methods are flawed, therefore they won’t work. We have to do something about prank phone calls, therefore we have to ban phones, end of story, a minority have made it necessary.
Now I'd hope that most people wouldn't be convinced into supporting a ban on telephones by those arguments. Yet, consider what normally happens when a few idiots abuse something. Nine times out of ten, similar blanket bans/restrictions are adopted, and the arguments that are used in support of these measures are identical to the ones I have just presented in favour of a ban on phones.
Such token measures rarely do stop the idiots, and when they do, the idiots usually move onto abusing other things. It strikes me that with this standard method of dealing with irresponsible behaviour, the only way we will ever make significant inroads against it is to carry out measures that substantially erode human liberties. I thus propose; we need to start considering alternative methods of tackling irresponsible behaviour...